Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers claimed he has joined one of the world’s biggest clubs after being officially unveiled by the Scottish champions on Monday.
Rodgers’ appointment on a 12-month rolling contract was announced last week and the former Liverpool boss got his first taste of the size of the Glasgow club when he was presented to the media before meeting Celtic supporters at Parkhead.
The 43-year-old has been out of work since being sacked by Liverpool in October and some pundits have said he made a mistake by going to Scotland rather than waiting for a job in the English Premier League.
But Rodgers believes the opportunity to take over the Hoops, following the departure of Ronny Deila at the end of the season, was too good to turn down given Celtic’s potential and huge worldwide support.
“I left a really special club at Liverpool. I wanted to have a good rest, to come away from the game for a bit and hopefully go into another big football club,” Rodgers told reporters.
“I had opportunities to stick down south in the Premier League or go abroad, but after (chief executive) Peter (Lawwell) called me once Ronny’s announcement had been made, out of respect, I spoke to him and when I met, they sold the club to me.
“My emotional attachment to Celtic is very strong, it has been for many years. There is a draw for me here.
“I know people talk about the level of Scottish football, but Celtic is one of the biggest clubs in the world, it is certainly not a step down, it is an institution.”
Rodgers will have little time to run the rule over his new squad, with Champions League qualifiers in mid-July as former European champions Celtic aim to get back into the group stage after an absence of two seasons.
The former Swansea boss also faces the renewed challenge from Rangers, who are back in the top-flight from next season after their spell in exile following liquidation.
“The objective is very clear, it is to continue with the domination of Scotland and also make an impact on European football,” Rodgers said.
“The traditions of Celtic being the first British team to win the European Cup is very important, and there has been many great nights of European football here at Parkhead.
“First and foremost, we would want to be competing for the Champions League, but to do that, you have to qualify. After then certainly the objective is to get out of the group stages and beyond.
“Of course it is difficult with the money around, but if you look at the like of Porto and Benfica, those are teams who are dominant in their own league, qualify into European football and can go on to make a good fist of it.”
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